Welcome to FrockTalk, the web’s only costume-based movie review site. The goal of Frocktalk is to shed light on the magnificent artistry of costume design in motion pictures. Reviews on this site are written by working costume designers in the entertainment industry – people who know, better than anyone, what it takes to make it all happen. The focus of FrockTalk is not to comment on the big flashy costume dramas, but to call attention to the seemingly ordinary costume design work in film that silently and persuasively moves the audience toward understanding the characters. Costume design for motion pictures is an art form that deserves more recognition than it usually gets. Fancy, pretty costumes do not always equal effective, appropriate costumes. The art of the costume is in letting the audience know who the character is, before the actor even has a chance to open his mouth. Read on, and enjoy. ** CAUTION: ALL REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS! **

Tag Archive for '1970s'

Behind the Candelabra: Interview with Designer Ellen Mirojnick

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Ellen Mirojnick is a legend in costume design.  Her work spans everything from Basic Instinct to Chaplin to Speed to the new HBO bio-pic Behind the Candelabra.  I spent a really nice breakfast recently with Ellen talking about a lot of things.  I’m going to break it into two interviews, but I wanted to share with you Ellen’s thoughts about making Liberace come to life – helping to transform Michael Douglas into a flesh and blood version of someone so flamboyant he could be easily disregarded as a cartoon.  Ellen’s work on this film is jaw-dropping, and I can’t wait to see the film – it airs at 9PM Sunday night, May 26th, on HBO.  Read on for more here and join us for breakfast, won’t you?

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Argo

Review Date: 10-14-12

Release Date: 10-12-12

Runtime: 120 minutes

Period: 1979 – 1980

Costume Designer: Jacqueline West

In 1979, Americans working at the US Embassy in Tehran were taken hostage.  Six of them escaped and sought refuge at the home of the Canadian Ambassador.  One man helped them out of Iran.  This is the premise of Argo.  Based on the true-life story of CIA agent Tony Mendez, the film is gripping, absorbing, and kind of a nail biter.  It’s one of the best films I’ve seen in some time, and the costumes and characterizations are top notch.

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Frankie & Alice – Designer Ruth E. Carter Tells All

Ever since I saw I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, I have been in love with costume designer Ruth E. Carter‘s work. Carter is an twice-Academy-Award-nominated costume designer (for her outstanding work on both Amistad and Malcolm X), and has a long list of fantastic films and television series to her credit.  I loved what she did with Frankie and Alice, and thought you might like to know more about her process and work on the film!

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Saturday Night Fever – Synopsis

Review Date: 8-6-09    

Release Date:  12-16-77

Runtime: 118 min.

Period: Contemporary, 1977

Costume Designer: Patrizia von Brandenstein  

Tony Manero is a nineteen-year-old Brooklyn paint store clerk by day, living with his parents.  At night, however, he rules the dance floor at the 2001: Odyssey dance club.  Saturday Night Fever describes his existence, straddling these two worlds, and coming to terms with the expectations his family has for him and his siblings.  Saturday Night Fever is, in the end, much more than great dancing and an iconic soundtrack; it is about growing up, being accountable for one’s actions, and taking responsibility for one’s own life and happiness.

**  NB:  This film is rated R, and the plot described herein may not be appropriate for kids. **

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Saturday Night Fever – Chris’ Review

Chris from the UK blog  Clothes on Film gives his insight on this iconic film…

Sleazy sex, drugs, violence, foul language, rape, racism, homophobia, suicide – if you only remember Saturday Night Fever for its Bee Gees soundtrack and lurid fashions, you’re in for a serious shock. This is one of the bleakest, yet most compelling movies of the seventies.

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Saturday Night Fever – KB’s Review

 

Review Date: 8-6-09

Release Date:  12-16-77

Runtime: 118 min.

Period: Contemporary, 1977

Costume Designer: Patrizia von Brandenstein

 

I love this movie.  It is so dark, and at the time it was released, tapped into the zeitgeist of a large, young part of our population.  In a post-cultural-revolution reality, with a culture embracing its own diversity at last, along comes a movie that talks about all of it.  In Saturday Night Fever, we find forums for discussion about everything from women’s lib to racism – hot topics at the time – and yes, these issues are carried out, expressed and explored in the costumes.

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